How old are the chicks if they still need a heat lamp? With two of them (lamps) in there it must be pretty hot... Chickens can handle cold weather much more easily than hot. They may be uncomfortable in there any way, especially if they are old enough to want to roost every night. Raising the roost to add a poop board may be dangerous for the chicks if you keep the heat lamps in the coop.
Your coop is pretty small. I do not think there is room for a poop board, although raising the roost six inches or so would make the hens happier. They like to be as far off the ground as they can, but in your coop the hens would not have enough room to manuver on and off a tall roost unless you did them the other way around. If you do the roosts short way instead of lengthwise you could maybe use a poop hammock... but I don't see it being very functional in a coop that small. A hammock or board would take up a lot of room and get in the way. It is probably just better to turn and clean the shavings more often.
ETA: I keep saying the coop is small. How small is it exactly? What are the dimensions?
@cheepandpeep I'm not using both heat lamps and only turn on one not above the roost if it's freezing out. They are 10 weeks but my breeder for silkies says it's cold for them but I'm weaning them of it...
Anyway - yeah I think it's too small for poop board.the inside is about 3 feet by 5 feet but you think I should raise the roost? Or change it to this direction ? Pic in next post
That’s one of the problems with small coops, you don’t have a lot of flexibility to manage issues. But you have what you have. Let’s deal with it.
How many chicks do you have? I’m not going to harass you about having some magic number of square feet per chicken or anything like that, how much room you need depends a lot on how you manage them. You can follow the link in my signature for my thoughts on that. I’m thinking more of how much roost space you will eventually need.
Silkies can’t fly, which makes them special when it comes to roosts and nests. Most chickens, including some Silkies, like to roost on the highest thing they can get to. Since you don’t want them sleeping and pooping in your nests that generally means your roosts should be higher than the nests. Some Silkies (not all, but some) are quite happy sleeping on the floor instead of on a roost at all, even a very low roost.
I don’t know if yours are using the roost yet or not. I don’t have Silkies but the normal age my brooder-raised chicks start to roost is 10 to 12 weeks. I’ve had some start a lot sooner, some later, but 10 to 12 is a good average. They will play on the roosts during the day but sleep in a group on the coop floor until they decide to roost.
Silkies can use a ramp or even jump up some even though they can’t fly. Depending on how many you have, I’d consider putting a fairly low roost across the back, maybe two at most. It’s tight, but put in a ramp or an intermediate perch or two sort of like a ladder so they can hop up there. I think that is your nest off to the right in your photo. You probably don’t need to go higher than a foot with the roost.
I don’t think you have an ideal situation but you should be able to manage it. Good luck!
I apologize, I forgot the droppings board question. To clean the droppings board you need to be able to reach it. That coop is not tall enough for you to walk in so it becomes a challenge. But let’s look for solutions.
There are all kinds of droppings boards. Some are as simple as a board you scrape maybe topped with linoleum so the scraping is easier, some are more trays with a front and people use PDZ or some sort of bedding and scoop out the poop. Some people use bins that set under the roost. Some people build drawers that can slide out of the coop.
I’m in a big hurry right now but my first thought is to build a drawer at the back if you have access and put that under the roost across the back. You can slide it out to empty it. The front may be the step they use to get to the roosts so you don’t need a ramp.
Another thought would be to leave the front portion of the roost where it is but only a portion close to the door, however long that might be. Raise it some. Get a bin that fits under it that you can remove through the front door to empty it. You may need a ramp at the back for access to the roosts.
Both of these will take up a lot of coop floor space, but they are so low the chickens may use the roosts as perches during the day. If they have access to a decent sized run whenever they are awake, you might be OK on the space question. Chickens don’t know the difference between coop space and run space, they just know that space is available when you need it.
I don’t like it but it’s the best I can do. The real solution is to build a bigger coop.
We used a full board that pulled out - not sure if that would work for you as well ( our coop is much larger). Maybe if you did a half size one of your floor that pulled out the back? We had left over roofing metal and used that for the pooptray. its slides right out for easy cleaning.